Getting to know you: Carol Smith

Carol Smith

Carol Smith joined ABDO in 2018 as communications officer. We get to know her a little more…

Mum of two, social media whiz and blogger, Carol Smith began her working life in the hospitality sector. “I had been studying for a GNVQ in science when I realised it wasn’t for me,” she explains. “So to pay the bills while I decided what I wanted to do, I started to work in hospitality.”

A couple of years later, Carol decided to make a change and go back to studies. “I began an access course in humanities and social sciences and went to work at Sainsbury’s,” she recalls. “By the time I left five years later, I was an assistant personnel and training manager. During that time, I finished my access course and completed my degree – a BA Hons in Business and Law.”

Carol’s next role was in manufacturing, as a commercial assistant. “My retail knowledge and admin skills helped me with the role, and I was the liaison between the retailer clients and the different parts of the factory to ensure product launches went smoothly. When I had my first child, my application for flexible working was refused and I made the bold decision to become self-employed and left the company.”

During her maternity leave, Carol discovered blogging and built her own profile on social media. “I took those skills and started writing for businesses. I would write their blog posts and help companies with their social media channels. I worked for a mixture of clients as a social media and content manager, virtual assistant and community manager.”

One of Carol’s freelance clients happened to be ABDO. “Antonia Chitty [ABDO head of communications] brought me on board to help set up the Association’s social media accounts for EyecareFAQ and then maintain them. I helped to set up the ABDO regional accounts and create content for them too. I then joined ABDO permanently in July 2018 when the opportunity arose.”

“Each day is different”

Carol’s role as communications officer is varied and has developed over the years. “My main responsibilities involve creating content for all of the social media channels, posting the content, and managing and growing the accounts.” Carol also heads up the jobs vacancies section of DO Online and ensures it is running smoothly. She helps adds content to the ABDO website, and works on the members’ eNews.

“Each day is different,” she says. “Some days I will spend all day creating social media plans and content, scheduling in posts, or I could be creating new areas on the website. Other days, I’ll be looking at social media and website statistics. I work part-time so I have to be really organised to ensure all the jobs get down in a timely fashion.

“Covid-19 has really thrown a spanner in the works, especially at the beginning of the first lockdown last year,” Carol continues. “A lot of information needed to be sent to members via eNews, and we spent a lot of time creating the Covid-19 advice section on the website. We would often have to drop what we were doing to get the information out as quickly as possible. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to produce the members eNews.”

The past 12 months have been particularly busy for the ABDO communications team, as Carol explains: “We launched the ABDO Careers in Eyecare social media campaign and it won Best Newcomer award from Youth Employment UK. On a personal front, I completed a diploma in digital marketing and a diploma in social media marketing.”

Carol is also hoping to complete the ABDO Management and Leadership Training Continuing Improvement Certificate later this year.

“I will always be grateful that I took a chance and pursued an adaptable way of working. I have found ABDO to be an incredibly supportive and flexible organisation to work for,” Carol concludes.